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From the mailbag:
Is there any career benefit to not only passing the CPA exams, but aceing them and getting the Elijah Watts Sells award?
You didn’t hear? The Elijah Watt Sells Award automatically puts you into a higher echelon of CPAs, one that shall reward you with prestige, money, and tail (if that’s your thing) well through retirement. Upon receipt of the award, you get a pony, your own parking space, and 72 virgins waiting for you in Heaven. Groupies will wait outside of your office and on your first engagement, your team will bow down to your superiority in a top-secret ceremony that has been part of the public accounting tradition since at least 1950 (oops sorry, I wasn’t supposed to mention that was I?). SA-WEET, MAN!
Oops, no, I’m lying to you. In all seriousness, there are some obvious benefits to winning the award — some firms will give you a bonus of up to $20,000 [Ed. note: this was true when this post was written in 2013, it is now 2022 and we hear firms have gotten a bit cheaper since. Check with your recruiter for the most up-to-date info on Elijah Watt Sells bonuses] which is nothing to sneeze at — but it’s not going to turn you into some kind of bulletproof celebrity in the world of accounting. Sorry, man.
I couldn’t get in touch with any of last year’s winners — probably because they are too busy ridin’ around shinin’, polishing their gold toilets and doing interviews with major media outlets to give the likes of us the time of day. So I did what any good troll would do and stalked them on LinkedIn. Here’s the unofficial result of my “research”: they all have normal jobs such as assurance associate. Not CEO, not “King of the World,” not “Senior Hot Shit,” just the same regular old jobs everyone else has.
So is there a “career benefit” beyond a fat bonus and the recognition that comes with being the best of the best? Nope, that is your career benefit. You get a great resume item, you get bragging rights, and you get to be told by hating trolls on the Internet that you studied too hard and are a loser. Isn’t that enough?